1. ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: It’s something still for a hip-hop artist — especially, the art form’s been around for a minute and people are making money — to see people come together and make a power move like that because I don’t think that’s happened yet.

    E-40: Nope, it haven’t. That’s the thing: we better together than separate. I try to tell cats. When I rock with Too Short -– one thing about me and Too Short, I respect him as being before me. He taught me a lot, just through his raps and the way he did it. He was the first one to let his nuts hang over his shoulder, and say the things he said. His beats was what the sound is now, way back in the early ’80s. With the heavy bass line. And that was him on the keyboards: Todd Shaw.

    Once me and Short start really connecting, it can’t be no fallouts or nothing like that. Because you know why? I’ma always respect him as being the first. A lot of cats won’t do that. They’ll just be like, “Well, I’m over you now. I’m way more popular, I’m the dude right now.” It ain’t about that. You gotta pay homage man. These new cats don’t pay homage like that. That’s why they always separating and all over the place. Everybody got they egos, and they don’t know people like Too Short is gonna be around forever. Because he embroidered in the game. He’s in there.

    E-40 on Microphone Check

  2. KELLY MCEVERS: What’s one of the scuzziest records from the ’50s and ’60s that you like?

    JARED SWILLEY: I like Hasil Adkins. Like, he’s this one-man band guy from West Virginia, and he actually thought that he was gonna make it. All of his songs about, like, cutting girls’ heads off and eating hot dogs, just really bizarre, and he literally didn’t think there was anything wrong with that. He would send letters to Johnny Cash and Elvis and RCA and all this stuff, and they sent him back letters …

    COLE ALEXANDER: … of rejection. Another scuzzy record is from 1965 in Peru. There was a band called Los Saicos, and they had a song called “Demolition”, which is about blowing up the train station. It’s actually, like, a terrorist-themed song, and they just scream and they scream — but it was a big hit in Peru. To put out records like that in such a conservative time, when The Beatles were considered too much in certain circles, that took a rebel. You had to be truly demented back then.

    The Black Lips on NPR’s All Things Considered

  3. “I gotta stay working.”
Even during the craziness of SXSW, producer Young Chop was making and selling beats. The 20-year-old’s behind tracks like Pusha T’s “Blocka” and Cassie’s “Turn Up,” and takes a break to sit down to an interview with Microphone Check's Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelley. 

    I gotta stay working.”

    Even during the craziness of SXSW, producer Young Chop was making and selling beats. The 20-year-old’s behind tracks like Pusha T’s “Blocka” and Cassie’s “Turn Up,” and takes a break to sit down to an interview with Microphone Check's Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelley. 

  4. ARUN RATH: You are huge now; there’s no getting around the fact that you’ve made it big. It’s kind of amazing that this is actually your first studio album.

    Sonny Moore (a.k.a. Skrillex): Yeah. What does studio album mean?

    You tell me.

    I don’t know! I didn’t really do my record in one studio, you know what I mean? When you say “studio album,” it feels like I went away to a studio in the mountains for a month. But it was made in so many different places — like, the Chance the Rapper record was done in Seattle after one of his shows, just randomly.

    You can release music in so many different ways, and even though the mainstream media and certain people might not pick up on it because it’s not through the normal avenues, it’s still effective. I’ve put out four EPs in the last three and a half years, and probably just as many or more singles and remixes throughout those years. So I’ve put out the equivalent of many studio records, just in a different way.

    I feel like people don’t take you as seriously unless you’ve done a “studio record” — which is OK, but I think it’s also important to not limit yourself to that, and show that you can release music and be successful in other ways. Especially in the world of electronic music, kids are so fast and prolific. They’re making stuff, and then the night they made it they’re playing it out live, it gets shot on a cellphone, it’s already on SoundCloud. So how do you accentuate that movement? That’s how I’ve always kind of seen things. Recess happened naturally. In the beginning, I wasn’t even sure if I was gonna release an LP or what it was gonna be, but those were the songs that I wanted to put out at the time.

    The only thing that’s weird to me is when people say that — all of a sudden, it’s this thing. You definitely get a lot more attention when you put more songs together. But my core fans have never complained; whenBangarang came out, it wasn’t like, “Where’s the album?” Because they know that I’m putting out remixes and stuff in between. I don’t think there’s any right way to do it. Maybe I’ll make a four-disc epic record one day, and maybe the next day I’ll make a single or something.

    Skrillex on All Things Considered

  5. "You’re listening to a poor Xerox," Neil Young says of the MP3. Watch the singer describe the Pono music player, his attempt to change an audio trend that stresses convenience over quality.

    "You’re listening to a poor Xerox," Neil Young says of the MP3. Watch the singer describe the Pono music player, his attempt to change an audio trend that stresses convenience over quality.

  6. "The more I grow in popularity, the lonelier it gets," rising Baton Rouge rapper Kevin Gates tells Microphone Check at SXSW.
Watch the interview now. 

    "The more I grow in popularity, the lonelier it gets," rising Baton Rouge rapper Kevin Gates tells Microphone Check at SXSW.

    Watch the interview now

  7. 
We are so f—— up and so amazing at the same  time. We can kill and make war and at the same time we make love and make babies. 

— Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux in a live SXSW interview with NPR’s Alt.Latino 
Photo: Lizzie Chen for NPR

    We are so f—— up and so amazing at the same  time. We can kill and make war and at the same time we make love and make babies. 

    — Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux in a live SXSW interview with NPR’s Alt.Latino 

    Photo: Lizzie Chen for NPR

  8. There is something about your story, because you haven’t made an album in four decades — in a way it’s like you’ve stepped out of this time machine, and you’re bringing the power of your music to people in a different era who weren’t with you back then.
I am, but let’s go a little deeper here: Timelessness also matches transcendence. I happen to be passionately in love with the universe and who I feel created it. And when you love the universe like I do, you are lining up with eternal things or things that certainly are eons old; you are not lining up with fads. I had to be told what “techno” means. I had to be told there’s an argument between non-techno and techno, a little bit like Bob Dylan went through when he wanted to use an electric guitar. I mean, of course he wanted to experiment; of course he wanted to use everything he could. Creators want to branch out.
Our human fads are so temporary and they come and go so quickly. The things that last have a greater balance with these things that are more eternal. I always want to go to the universe and use things that have a timeless quality, that match the eons, that match the flow of nature. My music comes to me, usually, like rain: It’s a fast flood. It pours from above my head, through my head, and I have to race to get pencil and paper to catch it.
Linda Perhacs on her first album in 44 years on Morning Edition.

    There is something about your story, because you haven’t made an album in four decades — in a way it’s like you’ve stepped out of this time machine, and you’re bringing the power of your music to people in a different era who weren’t with you back then.

    I am, but let’s go a little deeper here: Timelessness also matches transcendence. I happen to be passionately in love with the universe and who I feel created it. And when you love the universe like I do, you are lining up with eternal things or things that certainly are eons old; you are not lining up with fads. I had to be told what “techno” means. I had to be told there’s an argument between non-techno and techno, a little bit like Bob Dylan went through when he wanted to use an electric guitar. I mean, of course he wanted to experiment; of course he wanted to use everything he could. Creators want to branch out.

    Our human fads are so temporary and they come and go so quickly. The things that last have a greater balance with these things that are more eternal. I always want to go to the universe and use things that have a timeless quality, that match the eons, that match the flow of nature. My music comes to me, usually, like rain: It’s a fast flood. It pours from above my head, through my head, and I have to race to get pencil and paper to catch it.

    Linda Perhacs on her first album in 44 years on Morning Edition.

  9. ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: It’s stuff you may have gone through through the first album and it’s not ‘til you get to your fourth, fifth album that — you think it was real and your experience was real then. And then you get to that fourth, fifth album, youlike, “Wow.” A whole nother.

    SCHOOLBOY Q: Yeah, I’m already knowing.

    MUHAMMAD: You just gotta be in tune, to feed off of that creatively to deliver it and be honest about it. Honesty is missing in a lot of places, so the whole art form in itself is suffering. But then you come with your side of things — nothing false in it and it’s so real — and people, they feel that. It balances things out a little bit.

    SCHOOLBOY Q: Man, it’s crazy. I honestly don’t believe nobody under 24 will really understand it though. Because the way music is now — the music is so soft. Like gangster rap music is never respected now. They call it no substance now. I know this is way off subject but, like, what makes you think Waka Flaka and them is not — Gucci Mane is not speaking substance. Like Gucci Mane is from the hood, he’s talking about hood tales, you know what I’m saying — that is substance. People mistake gangster music for no substance now.

    ScHoolboy Q on Microphone Check

  10. SOLANGE KNOWLES: My earliest love, which was sort of an obsession actually, was Nas. I was in seventh grade, I believe, when Nastradamus was out, and I took it pretty far. I listened to it — no, I mean, I actually was telling someone yesterday, I got suspended over Nas.

    FRANNIE KELLEY: What?

    KNOWLES: In eighth grade I went to a very, very Christian school. I had the God’s Son shirt-off poster in my locker — across the belly — and the dean told me that I needed to remove the poster because it was blasphemous. And I argued that if I did that the young lady two lockers down from me had to take down her Justin Timberlake poster because he had a cross tatted on his chest.

    ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: Nice.

    KNOWLES: And I didn’t really see what the difference was there. So he told me he was giving me until Friday — it was a Wednesday. I went home, spoke with my parents about it and my parents actually gave me the choice and the freedom to stand by it and accept the repercussions if so, which was an in-school suspension. So I took that, I took that for Nas.

    Solange Knowles on Microphone Check